73 research outputs found

    Effects of constraint curvature on structural instability: tensile buckling and multiple bifurcations

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    Bifurcation of an elastic structure crucially depends on the curvature of the constraints against which the ends of the structure are prescribed to move, an effect which deserves more attention than it has received so far. In fact, we show theoretically and we provide definitive experimental verification that an appropriate curvature of the constraint over which the end of a structure has to slide strongly affects buckling loads and can induce: (i.) tensile buckling; (ii.) decreasing- (softening), increasing- (hardening), or constant-load (null stiffness) postcritical behaviour; (iii.) multiple bifurcations, determining for instance two bifurcation loads (one tensile and one compressive) in a single-degree-of-freedom elastic system. We show how to design a constraint profile to obtain a desired postcritical behaviour and we provide the solution for the elastica constrained to slide along a circle on one end, representing the first example of an inflexional elastica developed from a buckling in tension. These results have important practical implications in the design of compliant mechanisms and may find applications in devices operating in quasi-static or dynamic conditions

    The maximal operator associated to a non-symmetric Ornstein-Uhlenbeck semigroup

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    Let (H_t) be the Ornstein-Uhlenbeck semigroup on R^d with covariance matrix I and drift matrix \lambda(R-I), where \lambda>0 and R is a skew-adjoint matrix and denote by \gamma_\infty the invariant measure for (H_t). Semigroups of this form are the basic building blocks of Ornstein-Uhlenbeck semigroups which are normal on L^2(\gamma_\infty). We prove that if the matrix R generates a one-parameter group of periodic rotations then the maximal operator associated to the semigroup is of weak type 1 with respect to the invariant measure. We also prove that the maximal operator associated to an arbitrary normal Ornstein-Uhlenbeck semigroup is bounded on L^p(\gamma_\infty) if and only if 1<p\le \infty.Comment: 20 pages, to appear in J Fourier Anal Appl, available on line at http://www.springerlink.co

    Rods coiling about a rigid constraint: helices and perversions

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    Mechanical instabilities can be exploited to design innovative structures, able to change their shape in the presence of external stimuli. In this work, we derive a mathematical model of an elastic beam subjected to an axial force and constrained to smoothly slide along a rigid support, where the distance between the rod midline and the constraint is fixed and finite. Using both theoretical and computational techniques, we characterize the bifurcations of such a mechanical system, in which the axial force and the natural curvature of the beam are used as control parameters. We show that, in the presence of a straight support, the rod can deform into shapes exhibiting helices and perversions, namely transition zones connecting together two helices with opposite chirality. The mathematical predictions of the proposed model are also compared with some experiments, showing a good quantitative agreement. In particular, we find that the buckled configurations may exhibit multiple perversions and we propose a possible explanation for this phenomenon based on the energy landscape of the mechanical system

    Mechanics of axisymmetric sheets of interlocking and slidable rods

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    In this work, we study the mechanics of metamaterial sheets inspired by the pellicle of Euglenids. They are composed of interlocking elastic rods which can freely slide along their edges. We characterize the kinematics and the mechanics of these structures using the special Cosserat theory of rods and by assuming axisymmetric deformations of the tubular assembly. Through an asymptotic expansion, we investigate both structures that comprise a discrete number of rods and the limit case of a sheet composed by infinitely many rods. We apply our theoretical framework to investigate the stability of these structures in the presence of an axial load. Through a linear analysis, we compute the critical buckling force for both the discrete and the continuous case. For the latter, we also perform a numerical post-buckling analysis, studying the non-linear evolution of the bifurcation through finite elements simulations

    Concurrent factors determine toughening in the hydraulic fracture of poroelastic composites

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    Brittle materials fail catastrophically. In consequence of their limited flaw-tolerance, failure occurs by localized fracture and is typically a dynamic process. Recently, experiments on epithelial cell monolayers have revealed that this scenario can be significantly modified when the material susceptible to cracking is adhered to a hydrogel substrate. Thanks to the hydraulic coupling between the brittle layer and the poroelastic substrate, such a composite can develop a toughening mechanism that relies on the simultaneous growth of multiple cracks. Here, we study this remarkable behaviour by means of a detailed model, and explore how the material and loading parameters concur in determining the macroscopic toughness of the system. By extending a previous study, our results show that rapid loading conveys material toughness by promoting distributed cracking. Moreover, our theoretical findings may suggest innovative architectures of flaw-insensitive materials with higher toughness. ArXI

    Crack kinking at the tip of a mode I crack in an orthotropic solid

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    The competition between crack penetration and crack kinking is addressed for a mode I macroscopic crack in an orthotropic elastic solid. Cohesive zones of finite peak strength and finite toughness are placed directly ahead of and orthogonal to the plane of the parent crack. The cohesive zone ahead of the crack tip is tensile in nature and leads to crack penetration, whereas the inclined zones slide without opening under a combined shear and normal traction, and give crack kinking. Thereby, the competition between continued crack growth by penetration ahead of the crack tip versus kinking is determined as a function of the relative strength and relative toughness of the cohesive zones. This competition is plotted in the form of a failure mechanism map, with the role of material orthotropy emphasized. Synergistic toughening is observed, whereby the parent crack tip is shielded by the activation of both the tensile and shear (kinking) cohesive zones, and the macroscopic toughness is elevated. The study is used to assess the degree to which various classes of composite have the tendency to undergo kinking

    A Coin Vibrational Motor Swimming at Low Reynolds Number

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    Low-cost coin vibrational motors, used in haptic feedback, exhibit rotational internal motion inside a rigid case. Because the motor case motion exhibits rotational symmetry, when placed into a fluid such as glycerin, the motor does not swim even though its oscillatory motions induce steady streaming in the fluid. However, a piece of rubber foam stuck to the curved case and giving the motor neutral buoyancy also breaks the rotational symmetry allowing it to swim. We measured a 1 cm diameter coin vibrational motor swimming in glycerin at a speed of a body length in 3 seconds or at 3 mm/s. The swim speed puts the vibrational motor in a low Reynolds number regime similar to bacterial motility, but because of the oscillations of the motor it is not analogous to biological organisms. Rather the swimming vibrational motor may inspire small inexpensive robotic swimmers that are robust as they contain no external moving parts. A time dependent Stokes equation planar sheet model suggests that the swim speed depends on a steady streaming velocity V stream ~ Re 1/2s U 0 where U 0 is the velocity of surface oscillations, and streaming Reynolds number Re s = U 20/(ωΜ) for motor angular frequency ω and fluid kinematic viscosity Îœ

    Rho GTPase function in flies: insights from a developmental and organismal perspective.

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    Morphogenesis is a key event in the development of a multicellular organism and is reliant on coordinated transcriptional and signal transduction events. To establish the segmented body plan that underlies much of metazoan development, individual cells and groups of cells must respond to exogenous signals with complex movements and shape changes. One class of proteins that plays a pivotal role in the interpretation of extracellular cues into cellular behavior is the Rho family of small GTPases. These molecular switches are essential components of a growing number of signaling pathways, many of which regulate actin cytoskeletal remodeling. Much of our understanding of Rho biology has come from work done in cell culture. More recently, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has emerged as an excellent genetic system for the study of these proteins in a developmental and organismal context. Studies in flies have greatly enhanced our understanding of pathways involving Rho GTPases and their roles in development

    Eukaryotic Protein Kinases (ePKs) of the Helminth Parasite Schistosoma mansoni

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Schistosomiasis remains an important parasitic disease and a major economic problem in many countries. The <it>Schistosoma mansoni </it>genome and predicted proteome sequences were recently published providing the opportunity to identify new drug candidates. Eukaryotic protein kinases (ePKs) play a central role in mediating signal transduction through complex networks and are considered druggable targets from the medical and chemical viewpoints. Our work aimed at analyzing the <it>S. mansoni </it>predicted proteome in order to identify and classify all ePKs of this parasite through combined computational approaches. Functional annotation was performed mainly to yield insights into the parasite signaling processes relevant to its complex lifestyle and to select some ePKs as potential drug targets.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>We have identified 252 ePKs, which corresponds to 1.9% of the <it>S. mansoni </it>predicted proteome, through sequence similarity searches using HMMs (Hidden Markov Models). Amino acid sequences corresponding to the conserved catalytic domain of ePKs were aligned by MAFFT and further used in distance-based phylogenetic analysis as implemented in PHYLIP. Our analysis also included the ePK homologs from six other eukaryotes. The results show that <it>S. mansoni </it>has proteins in all ePK groups. Most of them are clearly clustered with known ePKs in other eukaryotes according to the phylogenetic analysis. None of the ePKs are exclusively found in <it>S. mansoni </it>or belong to an expanded family in this parasite. Only 16 <it>S. mansoni </it>ePKs were experimentally studied, 12 proteins are predicted to be catalytically inactive and approximately 2% of the parasite ePKs remain unclassified. Some proteins were mentioned as good target for drug development since they have a predicted essential function for the parasite.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>Our approach has improved the functional annotation of 40% of <it>S. mansoni </it>ePKs through combined similarity and phylogenetic-based approaches. As we continue this work, we will highlight the biochemical and physiological adaptations of <it>S. mansoni </it>in response to diverse environments during the parasite development, vector interaction, and host infection.</p